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Bioactivation of estragole and anethole leads to common adducts in DNA and hemoglobin

Affiliation
German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), Department 5 Food Safety, Unit 54 Risks of Subpopulations and Human Studies, Germany
Bergau, Nick;
Affiliation
German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), Department 5 Food Safety, Unit 51 Effect-based Analytics and Toxicogenomics, Germany
Herfurth, Uta M.;
Affiliation
German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), Department 5 Food Safety, Unit 52 Food Toxicology, Germany
Sachse, Benjamin;
Affiliation
German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), Department 5 Food Safety, Unit 54 Risks of Subpopulations and Human Studies, Germany
Abraham, Klaus;
Affiliation
German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), Department 5 Food Safety, Unit 54 Risks of Subpopulations and Human Studies, Germany
Monien, Bernhard H.

Estragole and anethole are secondary metabolites occurring in a variety of commonly used herbs like fennel, basil, and anise. Estragole is genotoxic and carcinogenic in rodents, which depends on the formation of 1′-sulfoxyestragole after hydroxylation and subsequent sulfoconjugation catalyzed by CYP and SULT, respectively. It was hypothesized recently that anethole may be bioactivated via the same metabolic pathways. Incubating estragole with hepatic S9-fractions from rats and humans, specific adducts with hemoglobin (N-(isoestragole-3-yl)-valine, IES-Val) and DNA (isoestragole-2′-deoxyguanosine and isoestragole-2′-deoxyadenosine) were formed. An isotope-dilution technique was developed for the quantification of IES-Val after cleavage with fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC) according to a modified Edman degradation. The same adducts, albeit at lower levels, were also detected in reactions with anethole, indicating the formation of 3′-hydroxyanethole and the reactive 3′-sulfoxyanethole. Finally, we conducted a pilot investigation in which IES-Val levels in human blood were determined during and after the consumption of an estragole- and anethole-rich fennel tea for four weeks. A significant increase of IES-Val levels was observed during the consumption phase and followed by a continuous decrease during the washout period. IES-Val may be used to monitor the internal exposure to the common reactive genotoxic metabolites of estragole and anethole, 1′-sulfoxyestragole and 3′-sulfoxyanethole, respectively.

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